Information relevant to the 15th chapter of The Chosen
The Sunhold is a fortress built within the Halls of Thunder to accommodate He-who-goes-before and his Red Ichorian guardsmen during a divine election. That it is a fortress demonstrates the underlying antagonism that there is between the Great [whom He-who-goes-before leads] and the Imperial Power in whose domain the Sunhold is located
The Sunhold is delved into the eastern edge of the Pillar of Heaven. It connects to the Encampment of the Seraphim by means of three well-defended passages that culminate in double portcullises. Besides the barracks and the suite of chambers for He-who-goes-before and his attendants, the Sunhold also contains the Hall of the Sun in Splendour. It is here that He-who-goes-before holds court. The Hall connects directly to the nave of the Hall of Wings through the Sun-Eyed Door
the Encampment of the Seraphim
The first diagram shows a plan of the Encampment of the Seraphim, though not to scale. The largest chamber of the Halls of Thunder, it was carved, columns and all, from the rock of the Pillar of Heaven. The Encampment is depicted here as it appears in the chapter of The Chosen, The Silent Heart. Carnelian’s route is shown, beginning at the top right hand edge, just after he has climbed the urine stained steps up from the ancient halls. It winds through the pavilions (shown as squares), culminating at one of the entrances to the Sunhold. The nave, called the Hall of Wings, is shown running along the bottom edge of the diagram. The positions of the Great and the Lesser Chosen are sketched in.
The second diagram is a detail of the first and shows how the pavilions within the Encampment are created by stretching cloth between its columns. The heraldic glyph shown here is Jaspar’s dragonfly and thus incorrect; House Imago being of the Great has the right to accommodation in one of the chambers that look out from the Pillar of Heaven.
Note the two small figures to the right of the pavilion that are drawn roughly to scale. The left is one of the Lesser Chosen on his court ranga: the right, one of his household
The third diagram shows the spreadsheet that I used to calculate the extent of the Encampment so that it would be capable of accommodating all the Lesser Chosen. One of the smaller diagrams indicates a pavilion incorporating twelve pillars. Further, it shows that each consists of five cells with the sixth being a sort of atrium. The arrangement of the pavilions relative to each other is shown by the six, smaller diagrams.
It is interesting that the Chosen call this an ‘encampment’. It suggests that the ritual of Divine Election might have once been carried out in the open…
the Halls of Thunder
The Halls of Thunder are a complex of palace caverns cut high into the rock of the Pillar of Heaven. It is here that the God Emperor, the court and the rest of the House of the Masks retire during the summer months to escape the heat in the crater below—they are the Eyries of the House of the Masks
The predominant aspect of the Halls is the ceremonial axis, running southwest to northeast, corresponding to the route the Rains take from the southern seas across the Guarded Land to Osrakum
Most of the main structures lie along this axis or to either side of it.
Beginning from the Creation Window in the southwest, there is a progression of: the Thronehall, the Stairs of the Approach, the Chamber of the Three Lands (where the Election of a God-Emperor is conducted), the Encampment of the Seraphim and culminating in the Sunhold and the Amber Window that lets light in from the northeast.
The first diagram shows my initial conception for the Halls of Thunder, and includes all the structures listed above. Note the passage connecting the gallery around the Chamber of the Three Lands to the head of the Rainbow Stair to the northwest, which is how Carnelian first enters the Halls. Shown also are the horseshoe of chambers cut into the whole of the northeast end of the Pillar of Heaven. The small diagram in the lower lefthand side shows the door to the Sunhold
The second diagram was a necessary refinement of the scheme that was forced on me once I calculated how large the Encampment of the Seraphim had to be to accommodate the Chosen. Additionally, I had, by then, a much better understanding of how the northeastern end of the Encampment interfaces with the Sunhold in the east, with access to the chambers used by Carnelian and the rest of the Chosen, and that now runs only along the northern face of the Pillar of Heaven
Note also the more precise articulation of the Chamber of the Three Lands with its moat and the bridges that cross it. Also the extra stairs off the second landing of the Stairs of the Approach, leading on the southeast to the chambers used by the House of the Masks (including the Dreamchamber), and in the northwest to those used by the Wise
the Chamber of the Three Lands
The Chamber of the Three Lands is a cave lying at the heart of the Halls of Thunder where the Chosen gather to elect a new God Emperor
The diagram shows a side view of the Chamber—showing the position of the immense stone bell, the Turtle’s Voice—with a plan superimposed. In the plan, it can be seen that the floor of the Chamber has been fashioned in the form of a wheelmap—a representation of the Chosen world view
Like all wheelmaps, there is a central black disc representing Osrakum; within a red one, representing the plateau of the Guarded Land; within a green one representing all the lower lands of the barbarians. The road systems of the Commonwealth are inlayed in silver into the floor of the Chamber
Of note is that in the Chamber the wheelmap representation has been accentuated, so that the red area is raised above the green and the black above the red. During the election, this arrangement is used to locate the various powers in their symbolic roles. So that, for example, the Wise ring the various diases to represent the way the Law protects the Commonwealth
It thus becomes clear where the Chamber gets its name: it is a form of symbolic and, even sympathetic, magic, by which the Chosen maintain their possession of the World
the Election choreography
The first page shows the positions that the various parties adopt during the actual voting.
The diagrams on the second page show the routes taken by the Lesser Chosen, the Great, the House of the Masks, the Wise etc as they enter the Chamber of the Three Lands prior to the election. These diagrams relate to the various structures in the Chamber. I produced them to work out the choreography that is the dominant structure of the chapter “The Election” in The Chosen. The sixth diagram, for example, shows the entry of the House of the Masks. Ykoriana leads the central ‘prong’ that comes down the Stairs of the Approach. The two ‘outer prongs’ show the routes taken by Nepheron and Molochite
the Stairs of the Approach
The Stairs of the Approach link the centre of the Halls of Thunder to the complexes of chambers used by the House of the Masks and the Wise. They consist of three, precipitous flights of steps each leading up to a landing. The final landing terminates at the Iron Door that opens into the Thronehall. The Stairs are flanked by colossal idols of the many avatars of the Twin Gods
The first diagram shows the second landing. It is set about with thrones for the various representatives of the Three Powers. This landing is used for conferences between the Powers. From here, branch stairs give access to the chambers of the Wise as well as a further entry into the palaces of the House of the Masks
The second diagram shows a side view of the Stairs. I went to such elaborate lengths because I wanted to make sure that, though it was impossible to see any of the landings from the ground, or while on any of the flights of steps [positions A, D, G & K], that it was nevertheless possible to see all the way to the Iron Door from within the Chamber of the Three Lands [position X]. The inability to see a platform to which a stair climbs is true of Mesoamerican pyramids—so that those climbing the steps appear to be climbing into the sky
Note: position A corresponds to the outer wall of the Chamber of the Three Lands.